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Old 02-24-2010, 03:05 PM   #32
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 17

The big OED has bated and not baited.

Lowered or lessened in position, amount, force, estimation, etc.; esp. in bated breath: breathing subdued or restrained under the influence of awe, terror, or other emotion.

Citations include Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, I iii 125; Freeman's Norman Conquest, 1872, Vol IV, Chapter xxi, p. 632.

Best wishes,

PAG

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I love this malaprop. It is so commonly made because the older form of language is so unfamiliar, and so I pass on the point -- as my English teacher once passed it on to me when I did the same ... .

"baited breath": I always have this image of the cat eating cheese to catch the mouse ...

"bated breath" as in "abate" or halted. Holding one's breath in anticipation...

I still like the cat and mouse image better, though ...

Which one would be Peter, though? .....hmmmmm....

P A Goldsbury
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